Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Celebration of Wildlife

For as long as I can remember I have been in love with wildlife. My fascination with anything - from crazy mockingbirds to turtles sunning themselves on a quiet summer day - attract my attention a thousand times more than who's the next American Idol. Or anything on tv.

Lately I've been blessed with several opportunities to get away from the fast-paced life of NOLA festivals (which I LOOOOVE) to enjoy the simpler things in life, like a sunset, or the exploration of a local nature park. In fact last week we had the opportunity to visit the Gulf Shores State Park on the coast of Alabama. Being the cheapo that I am, I refused to pay $5 to walk on the beach, so we opted to check out the Nature Exhibit of the park and I'm so glad we did! The taxidermy done at this place is second to none.

Click on pictures for larger versions


Beavers!


Bear, who was quite huge


Not sure if this is a cougar or a bobcat. Help me here, please.


This is a Gannett. I remember hearing a lot about this bird last year during the BP oil spill. I didn't realize they were this big.


Cute little owl


One of my favorite birds of all time, the Louisiana Pelican.

After checking out that fantastic Nature Center, Billy and I took a walk at the some of the nature trails found at the park. This proved to be a bad choice, as the sand felt like it was molten and the sun was vicious. This is the only sign that made us laugh





After we left the Nature Center and were checking out another boardwalk I spotted a group of pelicans heading to the Gulf and shot this.


I love watching pelicans fly and dive. It's a thing of beauty.

I googled things to do in Foley before our trip and learned about the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo . It was touted as a small zoo, so we decided to check it out. What a great experience it was. We spent 2 very happy hours there and would have spent more if it weren't so hot.



One of the first sights we saw was in the lagoon right outside the visitor center


This sweet pelican with a broken wing found a home here. He was a tough little guy and didn't let anything get in his way as far as moving around the lagoon.




Sharing the lagoon were several ducks.


A Blue Heron


Crazy monkeys (cannot remember their names)

Along the sidelines we caught the following


Camels


Lions....


These two guys reminded us of our cats at home.


A good variety of goats


Can someone please tell me what this animal is? It was driving the white tiger on the other side of the fence insane!



This zoo has a huge population of parrots too. My only regret is that all of the birds were in cages, which makes photographing them difficult. Here's what I got:









There was a neat little reptile house at the zoo. I went in and made a bee line for the door when I saw the huge snakes living in there. No pix.


These precious little monkeys stole my heart








We couldn't get this guy to turn around for anything.


This is Chuckie. He weighs over 1,000 pounds. The sign below tells his story.



It was a fantastic visit even in the 95 plus degree weather along with the sun. I recommend this zoo to anyone who visits Orange Beach/Foley/Gulf Shores. Support these people!

One last group of pictures and a shout out to local animal rescue people here in St. Tammany Parish. We attended the Lacombe Crab Festival (I mark it a 4 on a 10 scale for the food and lack of ambiance) and came upon a family of wildlife rescuers from our area that I never knew existed. They call themselves MF Wildlife Control/Animal Trainers. and they rock! they help wildlife such as Skunk/Armadillo/Bats/Bobcats/Possums/Otter/Snakes/Beaver/Fox/Squirrel/Raccoons and Nutria.

Here is one of their babies, a fox




I applaud this young man and would never get this close to a snake. But you know what? In time I may learn to love them.

Thank you profusely MF Wildlife Control. Glad to have you around.

2 comments:

bayoucreole said...

Great pics Judy. When the weather cools off a bit, I'm going to make a run there. I'm always looking for something to do. :)

Kelly said...

Baby fox! Too cute.